Snowflakes

Snowflakes are a very good example of fractals in nature. A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapour freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals – the six arms of the snowflake. Snowflakes are symmetrical as water molecules in ice crystals join to one another in a hexagonal structure, an arrangement which allows water molecules to form together in the most efficient way.

Crystallizing water forms repeating patterns in snowflakes. The repetitive pattern is like a miracle which prompted claims about the power of consciousness to affect matter. The Koch snowflake represents one of the earliest fractal curves to have been described. However some people may not agree that snowflakes are fractal in nature as snowflakes are self–similar only through a few dimensions. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the air where the snowflakes form, the resulting ice crystals will grow into a myriad of different shapes. It is unlikely that any two snowflakes are alike due to the estimated 1019 (10 quintillion) water molecules which make up a typical snowflake, which grow at different rates and in different patterns depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere.